An Ode to Fat
It’s time to have a little chat about something that the average runner does not like to think about during their off-season and is fled from by most in general.
Fat has gotten a terrible rap historically. Even worse that the knocking that carbs have gotten over the last couple of years. I am not going to launch into an impassioned rant as to why, but I thought I would expose fat for the superhero of anti-inflammation and energy that it is.
Historically (here we go..), low or no fat diets have been synonymous with losing weight and being healthy. This phobia is untrue when looked at from the macro picture. I am not saying all fat is good, but the bottom line is, like most things, that too much and too little is dangerous and it is a balancing act between the good fats and avoiding the bad.
Here’s a hook for you – a healthy brain is made up of over 60 percent fat. Many brain problems, including Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented with fats. Fat also is central to controlling inflammation, which is the first stage of most chronic illnesses.
Launching now into my full ode to fat, here are just a few other reasons why fat is an amazing thing to have in your diet.
Energy – Fat not only products long term energy, but prevents excessive dependancy upon short term energy needs from sugar, providing twice as much potential energy as carbs.
Hormones – The hormonal system is responsible for controlling many healthy functions in our brain, muscles, metabolism and more. the hormones produced in various glands are dependant on fat.
Insulation – This is the achilles heel for many people, but hear me out. If you have a healthy amount of fat on your body, it keeps you warm when it is cold, keeps you hydrated when it is hot (fat can prevent as much as 10 – 20 x more water from leaving the body) and allows athletes to compete in both environments.
Healthy skin and hair – Fat has protective qualities that give the skin the soft, smooth and unwrinkled appearance that most people try and emulate from super expensive products. The heath looks of skin comes from the fat inside – the same is true for hair.
Digestion – Bile from the gall bladder is triggered by fat in the diet, which helps with digestion and absorption of important fats and fat-soluble vitamins.
Support and Protection – Not only does fat act as a built in shock absorber and support for vital organs, but it provides protection for the body against harmful X-rays.
And that is only the beginning.
Unfortunately, the best way to get this fat is NOT from fried chicken and french fries. Some of the best dietary sources of fat are:
- coconut oil
- extra virgin olive oil
- macadamia nuts
Ways to include these healthy fats are eggs cooked in olive oil in the morning, a salad made with oil and vinegar dressing topped with avocado for lunch, nuts for a snack and salmon for dinner. It is easy to work in and you will be the most unwrinkled and energetic person I know if you kibosh the idea that fat is bad.
What is your favourite way to get dietary fat?